Congressman Dan Kildee stressed the need to make definitive decisions about the U.S. Congress to Central Michigan University students and members of the Mount Pleasant community Thursday.
Kildee addressed the students on issues of economy, equality and inner-Congressional operations at 7 p.m. in the Lake Superior Room in the Bovee University Center.
Following a video of his interview with political satirist Stephen Colbert, Kildee opened up about issues that plague Congress and keep it from effectively moving bills onto President Barack Obama’s desk.
“I don’t believe in the term dysfunctional,” said Kildee, who serves the 5th District. “(But) this is the least productive Congress in recent history.”
A CMU alumnus, Kildee took his position on the Budget Committee about a year and a half ago.
He warned students that issues they might believe were laid to rest long ago are still very much alive and well in politics today. Questions of immigration policies, equal opportunities for women and civil rights have simply morphed over the years to take on different forms in today’s political game.
“I’ve come to Congress at a pretty interesting time,” he said. “When I finally did get a chance to get involved with politics, I kind of felt as if maybe it was as if the big questions we had to answer as a nation had already been answered.”
Kildee said he hopes Congress can find a way back to its basic level of functioning, in which bills were crafted through cooperation and moved to the president’s desk in a timely manner. He said the influence of Wall Street has allowed a select few with large pockets to bring the production of Congress to a grinding halt in recent years.
The meeting continued with the parting speeches from College Democrats President Taylor Gehrcke and Vice President Candace Grooms as they made way for new members of the executive board.
Reflecting on his years with the group, Gehrcke said the connections he made along the way and the power of having his named recognized in political circles will do the most for his future career.
“I currently serve as the Michigan Federation of College Democrats programs coordinator,” Gehrcke said. “So I will be working a lot with planning events across the state for the federation.”
Junior Samuel McNerney of Vestaburg has been elected the new president of the College Democrats, and is excited for a year of hard work and dedication to politics at CMU. McNerney said students do not always feel their voice can make a different, and said it is the organization’s duty to galvanize them and instill them with political spirit.